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The Obscenity of Turkey Pardoning

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

We just rescued two baby turkeys from a large industrial farm. They are inquisitive, smart, and are already bonded with each other. We are so lucky to be able to provide lifelong sanctuary to Oates and Alan, who survived the hell of animal farming and were spared the final hell of being shipped to slaughter and killed. 

On the national stage, two turkeys were shipped alive from South Dakota to Washington D.C. to receive a presidential “pardon” today. The one that is the least terrified of crowds will be put on display while President Trump issues the pardon for the cameras. 

Meanwhile, 46 million other turkeys are being shipped dead to stores across this country. They were all babies. Turkeys are born in large incubators—they will never meet their mothers who are fiercely protective and wonderful parents. After a few weeks, they are moved to large, windowless sheds where they will live for five months, surrounded by thousands of other baby turkeys. Their beaks and feet are mutilated so they won’t hurt each other due to the tight confines. They are bred to get as large as possible so oftentimes their legs and feet give way under them – and they sit and suffer until someone kills them or they starve. At five months, they finally see the sun as they are loaded into trucks and sent to be killed. They often break their wings and legs during transport and are given no food or water on the trip.  

This is all legal and considered standard agricultural practice.  

The two turkeys in Washington are exempt from some of this treatment in that a mutilated and sick bird will not be put on display in front of cameras. They will be adults, not diseased, and not covered in feces like the birds headed to slaughterhouses.  

But they will not be exempt from the conditions for which they are bred which include heart disease, strokes, and joint issues. Commercial turkeys are more than twice as heavy as their wild ancestors. Even so, the bird who will be paraded in front of Trump will look healthier and happier than 99% of the turkeys being killed for Thanksgiving. The actual face of Thanksgiving is a sick and dying baby bird who is too young to even tell if they are a male or female.

Morning television viewers will not see those 46 million faces and thus will continue to be kept in the dark about animal agriculture while participating in a mass mocking of turkeys and normalization of eating their bodies. Also hidden are the hundreds of thousands of people who are serving unjust prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and deserve real pardons for the sake of themselves and their families. There is so much hidden pain that is belittled by what is happening today.

The two turkeys pardoned last year were named Wishbone and Drumstick. Today’s pardoned turkeys are named Peas and Carrots. This is a ritual of mocking those whom are entirely at our disposal by people with absolute power.   

Because for what are we pardoning these two turkeys? No crime has been committed but the crime of not being born the dominant species. They are helpless and vulnerable and we mock them with this faux act of mercy. 

Here at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, Alan and Oates are not pardoned. They have done no wrong. Instead we ask their forgiveness for what they have suffered. And we offer them long lives with other rescued turkeys– meeting thousands of people who seek to learn more about the hidden truth of animal agriculture. And through meeting them, people will make the choice to spare thousands of other turkeys from being born just to suffer and die.  

Welcome, baby Oates and Alan. We already love you.  

For the animals,
Rachel McCrystal
Executive Director


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